Recently I started sending in submissions to my school board for the magazine they publish every other month. My first submission I was terrified to send. After all other than writing emails, facebook, blog posts, and on online message boards I have not done any writing since my first year of college (that first year turned out to be my only year). I knew I needed to find something to stretch me outside of my comfort zone. As a single homeschooling mom I find there is not enough hours in the day to get it all in PLUS find time for hobbies, or activities just for me. I figured writing was something I could work on while I was already on the computer after the kids went to bed. So I sent my first submission and thought, "hey they worst that could happen is they say no thanks". Well imagine my surprise to hear back that they were going to publish it. This is the article I wrote. It was published in the July 2013 edition of Wisdom Family Magazine. The topic that month was Honour. Please excuse the extra use of the comma lol I never realized how much I used it until I saw it in print in the magazine. Without further ado, my first article.
Generally, when one hears the word honour, they think of things they hold with deep respect. We honour God, we honour our troops etc. Personally, when I hear the word honour, my memories float back to bygone days in Girl Guides. "On my honour I will try, there's a duty to be done, and I say aye!" was the first line of a song sung by many generations of girls. My mind may still sing that song every time I hear the word, but no longer it is merely a campfire song. These days it relates more to my commitment to homeschooling my children.
This past year has been a hard one; I often wondered what on earth I was thinking by ever deciding to homeschool in the first place. As a single mom, with four kids (two of which are in their early teen years) with learning issues, I was sure many many times this year that I must be off my rocker thinking this was a good idea. At first I thought it was the seven year itch, or burn-out. Then, I thought for sure it was the teenage hormones. Lastly, I has to come to terms with realizing it was my own attitude. Egads! It's true when they say that Mom's tone sets the mood for the day. Unfortunately, my attitude was souring the entire homeschool experience for the whole family.
It began innocently enough. I started thinking ahead to high school for my teenagers, which set in motion a snowball effect of worry that what we were set to do for the year, and then thinking that in the past we didn't do enough. I was sure we were behind. Now, if you have learning challenged kids (and really this is true for most kids), the harder you push them to do more, work faster, etc, the slower they get. This would send my already anxious ming into overdrive. The next thing you know, everyone is upset and the first lesson of the day still had not been learned.
I was not honouring my children and their abilities. I was not honouring God and the calling he placed on me to raise and educate these children with love. Instead I was teaching out of fear. I was convinced that we were homeschool failures and I would serve my kids better sending them to public school next year. I cried and I prayed over this many, many nights. I knew in my heart that sending them to school would crush them completely. They would fall through the cracks of the system because of their learning issues are such that they are too severe to succeed in the classroom but not severe enough to garner extra supports.
What is a mother to do? And then that song from Girl Guides came floating back to me. I have a duty to my children to stick with homeschooling, and an even bigger duty to get my own attitude in check. To stop teaching from a place of fear and meet them where they are, at the pace they are at, and trust God have a plan in place for them. I accept this duty with everything in me. How could I not? "On my honour, I will try, there's a duty to be done, and I say aye!"